Bible Question:

Son of perdition — Is the son of perdition Judas or the Antichrist?

Bible Answer:

Who is the son of perdition and what does son of perdition mean? The title, “son of perdition,” is used two times in the New Testament. It refers to Judas Iscariot and the future antichrist. The following reveals what Scripture teaches.

Son of Perdition

Judas Was a Son of Perdition

Judas Iscariot is the first person who is called the “son of perdition” in the Bible. This title is found in John 17:12.

While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. John 17:12 (NASB)

The Greek word that is translated as “perdition” is apoleia, which means “destruction,” “waste,” “ruin,” “perdition,” or “utter destruction.” That is, Judas Iscariot was named “son of perdition” because that characterized the man.

First, Jesus called Judas to be one of His disciples (John 6:71), but Judas was not truly a disciple. He deceived himself and those around him. He acted like a disciple, but he was not one since he betrayed Jesus (Matthew 10:4; 26:24, 45; 27:3; Mark 3:19; 14:21, 41; Luke 22:22; 1 Corinthians 11:23).

Second, Judas was the treasurer who stole from the money bag (John 12:4-6; 13:29). He was an ungodly man.

Third, later Satan possessed Judas and motivated him to betray Jesus (Luke 22:3). Judas  was willing to let Jesus die a horrible death.

Fourth, when Jesus called Judas the son of perdition, He revealed that Judas was going to spiritually perish. He would suffer for eternity in the lake of fire or hell.

Therefore, the name “son of perdition” reveals the character, the damage he caused and his eternal destiny. He truly was a man who caused ruin or utter destruction — to Christ and to himself.

Antichrist Will Be a Son of Perdition

The name “son of perdition” occurs one more time in the New Testament and that is in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NASB)

In this passage “son of perdition” is translated as “son of destruction.” In these two verses we are told the man of lawlessness is the son of destruction. This passage is about the antichrist. Just as Judas, the antichrist is a deceiver, he will be a wicked man who thinks he is god and will declare to the world that he is god. He will do this in the temple in Jerusalem during the tribulation Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15). He is described in Revelation 13:1-10. This individual will be extremely wicked since he will be controlled by the devil. Revelation 13:1 -2 calls him a beast. Ultimately, he will be sent to the lake of fire or hell according to Revelation 19:19-20.


The name “son of perdition” refers to two of the most evil indivduals mentioned in Scripture. The first “son of perdition” refers to the man who betrayed and arranged for Jesus Christ to be murdered. Jesus Christ was the perfect, sinless lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The man was Judas. The second “son of perdition” refers to another man who will appear in the future. He will fight against Christ at the battle of Armageddon and will be defeated.  Both men will spend eternity in the lake of fire or hell.

Suggested Links:

Why did Jesus choose Judas Iscariot as a disciple?
Does the Bible indicate that Judas was not saved?
Jesus Was Betrayed By a Friend Called Judas
Does the Bible indicate that Judas was not saved?
How can we know who is the antichrist?
The Antichirst – The Past & The Future
The Evil Messiah
Who is the restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7?